The jockeys’ room at the annual Tabulam meeting.
The jockeys’ room at the annual Tabulam meeting. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Young Mitch doubles up

SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD jockey Mitch Hayward had an afternoon to remember when he rode his first winning double at the Tabulam Racing Club on Saturday.

The Grafton apprentice piloted four-year-old mare Captain Nat ($7) to a win in the Maiden Handicap (1000m) and eight-year-old gelding Blackbeard ($3.20) to victory in the Sam Hordern Memorial Handicap (1400m).

Blackbeard ($3.20) finished four lengths ahead of second-placed Pipers Point ($3.50), with another two-and-a-half lengths back to Bradfield ($2.60 favourite).

"I let him roll on a bit and he travelled really well," Hayward said.

"It's my first time here and I'll always remember getting my first double at Tabulam."

Hayward began riding track work as 14-year-old in 2009 and usually rides at Inverell, Armidale and Grafton.

"My mum and aunty train horses and it just seemed like a natural fit at the time," he said.

"I think I'm the youngest jockey getting around in country racing."

Casino trainer Diane Cheetham was thrilled to get her first win after several years out of racing.

Cheetham was consider-ing a rest for Blackbeard after his run at Tabulam.

"We'd be crazy to rest him now after a run like that," Cheetham said.

"I used to train in the Hunter Valley and decided to get back into it only recently.

"It's good to get the confidence back."

In other races, Beaudesert jockey Sheree Drake rode four-year-old mare Boardies ($2.50 favourite) to victory in the Tabulam Cup Class 2 Handicap (1000m).

"We wanted to try a couple of different horses and it was a bit of an experiment coming here," trainer Greg Cornish said.

Dubai Falcon ($2.30) went out a winner with victory in the Mary O'Driscoll Memorial Maiden Handicap (1400m).

As reported in The Northern Star last week, Ballina trainer Danny Bowen planned to sell the four-year-gelding after the Tabulam race.

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